Toyota decision bizarre says Irvine

Eddie Irvine is baffled by Toyota's decision to let go of both Mika Salo and Allan McNish next year and said the situation was 'bizarre'. Toyota recently announced the departure of the current drivers and the signing of BAR's Olivier Panis for...

Eddie Irvine is baffled by Toyota's decision to let go of both Mika Salo and Allan McNish next year and said the situation was 'bizarre'. Toyota recently announced the departure of the current drivers and the signing of BAR's Olivier Panis for 2003. It's yet to be seen who will partner Panis although, as usual, a few names have been linked with Toyota, who surprised many by its decision. Changing both drivers after only one year does not make a team very stable.

"That's what makes the Toyota thing quite bizarre, to sack both the drivers. It's like, let's try and find a silver bullet here," said Irvine today at Spa, according to Reuters. "They (Toyota) are three seconds off the pace and they are blaming their drivers. Both of them are very capable. It's bizarre but it's great for everyone else in Formula One."

The Irishman added that Toyota were in for a surprise if they were pinning their hopes on Panis: "If they think Panis is a megastar they are going to have their eyes opened up pretty soon," he remarked.

Panis will be 36 next week, the same age as Irvine, whom he joins in having the dubious honour of being the oldest drivers on the grid. Irvine would not give any hints as to his own future but said he still enjoys racing: "The last race, I was having a blast. There was only the two Ferraris, the McLarens, Ralf (Schumacher) and me (lapping) in the 1.18s."

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About this article
Series Formula 1
Drivers Eddie Irvine , Olivier Panis , Allan McNish , Mika Salo
Teams Ferrari , McLaren